Friday, September 19, 2014

Fantasy Reading List: The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

Currently, I'm reading The Broken Eye, the third book in Brent Weeks's Lightbringer series, so I thought it would be a good time to write a quick review of The Black Prism, the first book in the series. It's been a while since I read it, so this review won't include too many details.

I originally discovered Brent Weeks back in 2012  when I read The Way of Shadows. It became one of my favorite fantasy reads, and I devoured the rest of that series. I also decided to give his newer Lightbringer series a chance, and I'm glad I did. While I won't say The Black Prism is as good as his Night Angel trilogy, it's still a very good book and definitely worth reading. Some readers actually prefer this series, and I'll admit his writing is better. I'm not quite as invested in the story, though.

Weeks's greatest strength is his pacing. He writes epic fantasy like it's a thriller. This was especially the case in Night Angel, which I will also review at some point. In The Black Prism, you begin with the same action-packed, quick pacing, but then it slows down as Weeks develops the characters and the world. This is a thing a lot of fantasy fans like, but it surprised me a bit after Night Angel.

However, it gives Weeks the opportunity to show his growth as a writer. Night Angel was great fun, but it's really pretty simple stuff when you look at it more closely. The characters didn't get a ton of development, and the world was left a bit bare at times. In The Black Prism, you get a very different approach as Weeks moves more toward Brandon Sanderson in his style of storytelling. That is, you get more nuanced characters and a deeper world with an intricate magic system.

In this book, I got the feeling that Weeks was still feeling his way through this change in style, and that's why I didn't find it amazing, just very good. The interesting characters and intricate magic system kept me reading, and Weeks delivered with his trademark action scenes in the end.

Overall, this is a very good read and a promising start to a series.

Rating 9/10 (I've revised the rating because I really think it's worth a 9. I was comparing it too much to Night Angel, and it's a different story, great in its own right.)

For my review of The Blinding Knife, click here.

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